Betsey Maupin, Longtime Orlando Critic, Shuts Down Blog and Retires

News   Betsey Maupin, Longtime Orlando Critic, Shuts Down Blog and Retires Elizabeth Maupin, a respected theatre writer and critic in central Florida since the early 1980s, told the readership of her theatre blog, Elizabeth Maupin on Theater, on Aug. 8 that she is giving up the criticism game.

Elizabeth Maupin
Elizabeth Maupin

"Today's a day I never thought I'd see — the day I'm stowing away my critic's shingle and hanging up my critic's hat," Maupin, former longtime critic for the Orlando Sentinel, wrote on Aug. 8. "As of today, I'm giving up this blog and leaving theatre criticism to others."

She continued, "It's a move that has been long in coming. When I quit my job at the Orlando Sentinel, almost 18 months ago, I decided to keep reviewing — mainly because it didn't look like the Sentinel was going to replace me. But the paper did eventually get around to naming a new theatre critic (my friend Matt Palm), and eventually it began to seem to me that I could be spending my time doing something else."

She told Playbill.com, "I'm spending an awful lot of time on writing and editing without getting paid for it [on the blog], and there's lots else I want to do."

Maupin — "Betsey" to friends and colleagues — makes pottery, "and that's time-consuming," she said.

Maupin told her readers, "The main reason I'm stepping back is that I'm done. Recently I realized that I've been a practicing critic for 35 years and that I've said all that I want to say." She told Playbill.com, "I plan to try to keep being active in the American Theatre Critics Association, and also going to the theatre, but that will probably be the extent of my involvement."

Her site will be active "for a while" for theatre people seeking copies of old reviews. Her site included reviews, listings and audition notices. On its busiest days, during Orlando Fringe, for example, the Maupin on Theater blog got as many as 4,000 hits, the writer said.

Maupin said that her exit coincides with the end of the current Orlando theatre season.

Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, a fellow critic, told Playbill.com, "I'm sorry to learn that Elizabeth Maupin has retired her blog on theatre. And I felt the same way when she left the daily beat at the Orlando Sentinel. I've known Betsey for almost 20 years as a critic and colleague. She has always been a reliable voice of reason — informed, intelligent and compassionate. Too many critics today (bloggers and otherwise) seem merely to be in the business of self-promotion. But a few, such as Betsey, are true theatre advocates. This is a loss for theatrical discourse."

Jay Handelman, theatre critic from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida, told Playbill.com, "Betsey was my first friend in the American Theatre Critics Association. She had a gift for expressing strong opinions without tearing people down and simultaneously encouraged the growth of the theatres and the artists she covered. She made everyone want to be better at what they did."

Maupin was theatre critic for the Orlando Sentinel from 1983 to 2010. She graduated from Wellesley College with a bachelor's degree in English in 1973 and received a master's in journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1976. She chaired the executive committee of the American Theatre Critics Association from 1996 to 1999.

Maupin spent the 1995-96 theatre season as a fellow of the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University in New York and in 1986 was a fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT.

She is married to Jay Yellen, a professor of mathematics at Rollins College. They live in Orlando with Lizzie, Skippy and Desmond Tutu, their three cats.

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